The film has the courage of its genre convictions. It doesn't have even a whiff of market testing. It does everything on its own terms, and in this age of McMansion movies, that's a super accomplishment.
Fast, periodically spit-funny and often grotesquely violent, the film at once embraces and satirizes contemporary action-film clichés with Tarantino-esque self-regard -- it's the latest in giggles-and-guts entertainment.
Peppering an action flick with comedy is hardly original, but the mocking tone and off-kilter vibe set this film apart. It even has a hearty dose of charm, thanks mostly to the most outrageous performance by a child in recent memory.
While not all of the elements fit together tonally, on the surface level -- the level that the title suggests -- Kick-Ass does exactly what it's supposed to, as long as you're game for the language and the gutting.
Is it a problem that Kick-Ass is by far the most violent movie ever to feature kids as heroes? Parents should consider themselves warned, though personally, I just wish that the film had ended up a bit less of an over-the-top action ride.
Director Matthew Vaughn has made an action comedy so bloody funny -- double emphasis on bloody -- fans might need to see it again just to catch the gags they missed from laughing so hard the first time.
Crude, bloody and moody, Kick-Ass embraces, at arm's length, its fanboy origins. But maybe they should have decided if they loved these stereotypes, or wanted to ridicule them to death before rolling the camera.
Kick-Ass offers some genuinely clever observations about the creation of celebrity in a world where viral video clips and latenight talkshow quips can turn attention seekers into overnight sensations (and inadvertent role models).